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Baby Boomer Referrals: They Entice Friends to Join Them

It’s not always easy to pick and move to a new location, and many boomers relocating to Fla. convince their Northern friends to join them.

NEW YORK – Wealthy baby boomers increasingly buy properties in the same housing developments as their friends, even if it means moving hundreds of miles away from the place where they first met, real estate pros tell The Wall Street Journal.

Groups of empty nesters look to create communities and preserve or recreate within existing social circles when they move to new cities. A group of friends from the same country club in San Diego, for example, bought seven units at the Pendry Residences in Park City, Utah, the developer says. At Clear Creek Tahoe in Nevada, seven couples from Silicon Valley bought lots next to each other.

“They want to look for a surrogate for that kind of community support that they would have had with their family as they grew older,” says Michael R. Solomon, a marketing professor at Saint Joseph’s University who’s studied the baby boomer generation. “It’s a support network. It’s also driven – maybe subconsciously – by wanting to avoid the specter of being stuck by yourself in a nursing home.”

More baby boomers are bypassing continuing care communities that their parents once lived in, Solomon notes. Instead, they’re buying homes where they can age in place and targeting states that offer lower taxes and have easier access to amenities like the beach or a golf course.

And once baby boomers settle, they’re asking their friends to join them.

Knowing some neighbors can help people settle into a new community. Sometimes, the arrangements occur with a group of friends who pick a place together, or they can happen more by chance.

For example, Tom and Lori Williams told the Journal they weren’t planning to buy real estate until after a visit to the Coachella Valley with their friends. At the time, they lived outside Sacramento, Calif. But soon after visiting their former friends, the Williams closed on a three-bedroom, single-story home for $1.17 million in a La Quinta, Calif., golf community outside of Palm Springs. They didn’t even bother to consider other communities or neighborhoods in the area.

“It’s nice to know somebody when you’re going to a new city,” Lori Williams says. “We had an instant kind of an ‘in.’” Several other families from their old community have since also relocated and purchased in the Williams’ new neighborhood.

Source: “When Friends Move Next Door,” The Wall Street Journal (April 7, 2021)

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